New laser nose will sniff out first signs of cancer

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New laser nose will sniff out first signs of cancer

LUCINDA CAMERON

April 05, 2004

SCIENTISTS in Scotland have developed a "breathalyser" that can detect early signs of lung cancer.

The hyper-sensitive machine, dubbed a "laser nose", detects tiny traces of ethane in the breath, using technology originally designed for oil prospecting.

Patients use the device by breathing down a tube into a bag, where a tiny laser beam detects ethane, produced when lung cancer breaks down cells in the body.

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